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What is Climate Change?
Everyone has heard the phrase, but
what does it actually mean?
Climate Change = The change in average conditions of a
particular place over a long period of time. (We usually link
‘climate change’ to rising temperatures but this is NOT the
full story).
It’s better to think of climate change causing more extreme
and unpredictable events around the world.
HINT: Climate is what you expect, Weather is what you get!
Earth’s climate is not constant.
…and cooled
It has warmed…
For BILLIONS of years!
It is the RATE that current climate change is happening that is different from
what happened in the past. Since ~1800, the average global surface
temperature has risen by about 1 degree Celsius.
Climate Change vs. Global Warming
What’s the difference?
Global warming refers to the rise in
average surface temperature of the
earth.
Climate change refers to all changing factors of
Earth’s climate including temperature, rain, wind
and humidity. Temperature is not the only thing
that is changing and it is not just getting hotter.
Where do WE come into this?
Everyday we do many things that are not good for our environment. By
burning fossil fuels, cutting down entire forests and even breeding cows, we
are polluting our atmosphere.
MOO!
Burning Fossil Fuels
Deforestation
By burning fossil fuels for
energy such as coal, oil and gas,
we are releasing extra CO2 into
the atmosphere.
Trees use CO2 in the
atmosphere for
photosynthesis and to
provide us with oxygen, but
some trees are cut down for
agricultural purposes.
Agriculture
We breed many cows for milk
and meat, but when cows are
‘windy’… they release
methane (another
greenhouse gas) into the
atmosphere. Lots of cows =
lots of extra methane!
The greenhouse effect
Greenhouse gasses (including CO2) accumulate in the
atmosphere. They absorb thermal radiation (heat) from
the Earth’s surface, and redirect it back down to the Earth,
heating up our planet. This is called the GREENHOUSE
EFFECT.
The greenhouse effect is natural.
…without the Greenhouse Effect, the
Earth would be too cold for life (we
certainly wouldn’t be here). In fact,
scientists say it might look a bit like
MARS…
… Adding millions of tonnes of greenhouse
gasses (including extra CO2) to the
atmosphere each year makes the
greenhouse effect ‘too efficient’, causing
climate change.
This giant sign in New York City illustrates ‘the number of metric tones of
greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere’. In less than 6 days, the total had gone
up by over 344,041,589…so the number of metric tones rises by 1000 every
second…the weight of 700 cars!
Scientific Evidence for Human
Induced Climate Change
The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has
always fluctuated. However the amount of CO2
has quickly risen during the last 150 years.
www.climate.nasa.gov/evidence
This graph from
NASA shows that
since 1950,
atmospheric CO2 has
gone up by 100 ppm
(parts per million).
Climate Change vs Accelerating
Climate change
So how is human induced climate
change different? According to
NASA, the rate of change is TEN
times faster than the Earth’s
usual rate of recovery to warmer
temperatures after an ice age.
The IPCC project that the average
global temperature will probably
rise more than 2 degrees Celsius in
the next 100 years.
What have you learned so
far?
3.
What iswould
Earth be like
without
a greenhouse
1. What
the difference
between
‘Climate’
and
2. What is ‘Human induced Climate Change’?
effect?
‘Weather’?
Answer:
Answer:
The
accelerated
rateexpect,
of change
in theisEarth’s
average
Climate
is what
you
weather
you
get!
Earth
would
be too
cold to support
life.what
It could
look
climate due to increased human emissions of
similar to the planet Mars.
greenhouse gasses such as CO2
The Effects of Climate Change
‘Great! Its going to get a little bit
warmer! There’s nothing wrong with
that, is there?’…
…People of the small island
nations in the South Pacific would
strongly disagree.
Climate Change in the South Pacific
Where?
• 22 countries scattered across appx.
20,000 small islands in the South
Pacific.
• The island are very low lying, some
barely reaching a meter above sea
level.
• Most of the human populations on
these islands live by the coast.
• They are often very poor and
underdeveloped countries.
Effects from climate change in these
vulnerable countries are being seen
NOW…
ISLANDS ABANDONED
Tropical Storms
HOMES DESTROYED
Climate Change in the South Pacific
Sound like paradise?
Climate change is linked to
sea levels rising, an increase
in storm surges and a
whole host of other
problems…
Lets take a look…
Sea Level Rise
Rising temperatures are linked to sea-levels rising. Ice sheets and glaciers are
melting, and sea water is getting warmer and expanding.
This is bad news for inhabitants for these small
Pacific Island nations. A slight rise in sea level can
have drastic effects. Coastlines are getting
smaller, almost like their islands are ‘shrinking’.
Inhabitants are forced to move further
inland, abandoning their homes,
crowding the islands, as there is
increasingly less space to live.
Storm Surges and Extreme
Events
We might complain when it’s raining, but,
in the South Pacific, rising sea levels bring
an increased risk of storm surges.
Storm surges are a threat to the
people who live by the coast. They can
destroy homes, crops and water
supplies. Along with sea level rise,
they could make islands uninhabitable.
Ocean Acidification
Some of the excess CO2 in the
atmosphere is also being
dissolved into the ocean. This is
causing the water to become
more acidic.
This is bad news for marine ecosystems,
especially to coral reefs, fish, marine
mammals and other animals who call the
ocean their home. It is also bad news for
those who rely on fishing for their
businesses or as a source of food.
Other Effects
The impacts of climate change are
numerous and will affect all sorts of
plant and animal species.
• The climate in some areas will become unsuitable for
some animal and plant species, causing mass migration or
population declines e.g. Polar bears in the Arctic
• Some species will be able to live in places that they never
could before. This means that many places will see an
increase in alien species (and that doesn't mean little
green men!)
That’s what
they think!!!
Health and Disease
It might not be obvious, but climate change
can cause people to get sick, and not just
from injury or drowning.
• Malnutrition- Storms and rising sea
levels can destroy food sources and
crops.
• Sickness and Diarrhoea - Often the
islands only have only one source of
fresh water, and storms can often
cause this supply to be contaminated,
making it dangerous to drink.
Extreme events have also been
experienced recently in England…
Increased
number
So even though scientists
have given us
evidence
Increased
stormsof
and we can even SEE it heat
happening…why
are some
waves.
and flooding.
people saying that ‘human induced’ climate change
Remember
the
is not
real?
Remember
the
unusually
hot, sunny
flash flooding
in the
weather
in March
North East
in June
2012?
2012?
What have you learned
so far?
2. 1.
Why
Name
are3the
major
islands
effects
of the
of climate
South Pacific
change.
vulnerable to
climate change?
Answer:
Answer:
• They are very low lying, some averaging only 2m
There are many effects of climate change;
above sea level
• Sea Level Rise
• Many are simple coral atolls, meaning that storm
• Ocean acidification
surges can easily cause an over wash of sea water
• Storm surges and flooding
into fresh water supplies
• Increase in disease
• Many are developing nations which have limited
healthcare facilities

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